mystic

in Tablet Magazine – A New Read on Jewish Life

“I invoke Perec’s Judaism only in the way that he did—by scorning religious ritual, and investigating the esoteric aspects, especially the parallels between Oulipian restrictions and the disciplines of kabbalah.”

Abu Said ibn Abil-Khair :

“What’s in your head —
throw it away!
What’s in your hand —
give it up!
Whatever happens —
don’t turn away from it.”

Grant Hadwin:
“If you had the power, to create all matter, including life, and you could synchronize, those creations, perfectly, what would you do, if one life form, was apparently abusing, all other life, including themselves?” [p.171]

Vaillant, J. (2005). The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness, and Greed. Toronto: A.A. Knopf Canada.


“In life never do as others do…Either do nothing—just go to school—or do something nobody else does.”

George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff

Kali’s Child


Also relevant here is the manner in which my dialectical category of “the erotic” has been misread by some as flatly monodimensional, as if it meant simply “sex,” when in fact the erotic only begins with physical sexuality and moves out (really “up”) from there into the sublime, “sublimated” realms of symbolic vision, mystical experience, mythology and theology. I could, no doubt, address such a misunderstanding in the same way that Freud answered his own critics. In an effort to show that his own concept of “libido” was not the “outrageous innovation” that people supposed it to be, the analyst called attention to how sexuality lay in an unbroken continuum with the “higher aims” of “love for parents and children, friendship and love for humanity in general, and also devotion to concrete objects and to abstract ideas.” “All these tendencies,” Freud writes, “are an expresson of the same instinctual impulses.”13 Then, as if to move even higher “up” along the continuum, Freud invokes–appropriately, I would argue–the erotic mysticism of Plato and the love theology of Paul: “In its origin, function, and relation to sexual love,” he wrote, “the ‘Eros’ of the philosopher Plato coincides exactly with the love-force, the libido of psycho-analysis . . . and when the apostle Paul, in his famous epistle to the Corinthians, praises love above all else, he certainly understands it in the same ‘wider’ sense.”14